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Approximately 3 in every 1000 babies are born hard of hearing or deaf. Many of these babies are identified through nationwide newborn screening efforts and are provided with the help they need. By 6 years of age, however, the number of children affected by hearing loss doubles to 6 in 1000. Because toddlers and young children do not typically receive any hearing screening until they enter school, those who develop a hearing loss during early childhood, or were lost to follow-up after the newborn screen, are likely to remain undiagnosed and unserved during the most critical language-learning years. Hearing screening during early childhood can change that.

Hearing Screening Program Development

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  • Screening Methods
    • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Screening is recommended for all children 0 – 3 years of age. It is also appropriate for many children over 3 who are unable to follow instructions and complete tasks required for Pure Tone Audiometric Screening. Pure Tone Screening has traditionally been recommended for children over 3 years of age who can follow instructions and complete screening tasks. Talk with your local pediatric audiologist about which method, or methods, are optimal for the population you serve.
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Watch a preview of OAE screening

The Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative is focused on extending the benefits of periodic hearing screening to young children in a variety of health and education settings. The ECHO Initiative is part of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management at Utah State University and serves Early Head Start/Head Start programs as the National Resource Center on Early Hearing Detection and Intervention. Our goals are to ensure that early childhood education and health care providers have:

  • Information and resources for screening children 0 - 3 years of age (OAE is the recommended method);
  • Information and resources for screening children 3 - 5 years of age (considerations in selecting a screening method [PDF]);
  • Tools to effectively implement hearing screening so that children with hearing-health needs are identified as early as possible and provided with appropriate follow-up services and support; and
  • Strategies for using hearing screening as an opportunity to promote language development in all children as an integral part of school readiness.

Take a quick video tour of the website

Read a brief description about OAE screening [PDF]

Watch a one-minute video demonstrating OAE screening

Consider whether your setting is appropriate for OAE Screening [PDF]

Learn more about the ECHO Initiative

Meet the ECHO Initiative Team

Read published articles